If there’s one thing depression taught me, it’s how huge human emotions can become. Depression can ignite a fire that brings you to the edge of the world time and time again. It’s a disease and people die from it every day.
But I’m one of the lucky ones.
I battled severe depression for seven years. There were days where I would get into tumultuous thought patterns after hell paid me yet another surprise visit. I would sit in the corner of the kitchen in my childhood home while my parents were in the living room just feet away and think , “If I just killed myself tonight, I wouldn’t have to watch anyone else suffer because of me.”
It’s a thought that plagues the minds of everyone who feels like they can’t feel anything at all. It’s a symptom of the vicious disease.
Feeling this way for years on end, day in and day out, was exhausting. I made the time pass by through naps and refusing to get out of bed until 2 p.m. Sleeping made me feel like I was spending that much less time in my own state of awareness. My nightmares were horrific and I would only feel more anxiety when I finally let the sunlight reflect from my irises again–but burning in hell in my dreams was better than anything I felt when I was awake.
I was in unhealthy relationships for most of those seven years when I was losing a battle with my emotions, clinging on to anyone who could see something in me when I simply couldn’t see anything in myself. I had several boyfriends throughout this time who could make me happy temporarily, but one that really made me feel better than the others could. But after this relationship suffered an over-the-top heartbreaking ending, I hit rock bottom. I lost the one thing in life I felt something for. The one person in life who I thought still cared. It felt like my heart was hollowed by the grips of Hades and left only the bare minimum bloodline to keep me awake.
I physically couldn’t do anything in my daily routine after that. I would go to work with puffy eyes and a fatigued body only to never actually make it to my desk. Instead, you could find me curled up in the bathroom beneath the paper towel dispenser, gripping my gut in emotional fury. While I was supposed to be answering phones at the front desk, I couldn’t even hear them ring over the sounds of my gasps for air between the layers of tears, the blood in my head beating between the palms of my cold-pressed hands, and my quivering body as it shook off whatever hope I had left.
I was so low, I might as well have buried myself; in my mind, there was already a funeral every day.
But as much pain as I was in, I knew I wanted to do more in life than simply end it. At one point before all this mess, I was a go-getter. A competitive and motivated person– at times, even now, I’m still this way and probably too much so. But eventually, I did the one thing I told myself I would never do: I started taking anti-depressants. I never wanted to take a drug to make me happy. I felt it was a bit robotic. I wanted to be happy on my own. I wanted to do it myself, the way I want to do most things in life– through my own success. To be able to say, “I conquered this beast with no army. I did this by myself and this victory is mine and mine alone.”
What I didn’t realize was this was a battle I was never going to win on my own. I sought therapy and was embarrassed to tell anyone. I didn’t want people to think there was something wrong with me–even though there was. I didn’t want people to think they needed to treat me differently–because I felt they already did. I didn’t want people to think they had to walk on egg shells around me for fear they might trigger one of my emotional plunges– even though they were probably right about that one.
Depression is similar to addiction in that we get comfortable in our patterns. We are creatures of habit and sometimes–when we’ve felt and acted a certain way for so long–it becomes what’s comfortable for us, what’s easy to revert back to.
There are days even now where I can feel that depressive demon staring back at me. And sometimes, it’s hard to fight off. I have to remind myself how far I’ve come since those horrible seven years. I have to tell myself I am worth life… I’m worth it to keep pushing.
And one day–maybe not today, maybe not next week, month, year, or even several years—but one day I know my hard work will pay off in so many regards. It’s hard to conceptualize, especially on my bad days, but my depression has done one thing for me that I mentioned before–it’s taught me how huge our emotions can become. Even though I do have some bad days, I also have extremely good ones; the ones that make me thankful I didn’t take my own life sitting in my kitchen many years ago.
Depression has made me truly appreciate moments of joy and gave my life more purpose. It’s made me love the reasons for living.
I know I’m not alone in my sentiments. There are many others who want to share their situations but feel it’s too socially unnerving to do so. I stumbled across this post from an old friend and knew I needed to share as it was so eloquently worded what so many others are going through:
For anyone suffering, there is always a reason to live. There are people who love you now and people who will love you in the future who you may not have even met yet. Fulfill your potential. Reach out. There is nothing embarrassing about wanting to live.
Help is available: 1-800-273-8255
One thought on “How Depression Saved My Life”
I just happened on your story and I am so glad I did. My 17 year old son is going thru a very similar experience right now and it’s been so hard on him and hard to watch as a parent. I just want to fix it for him. I will definitely be sharing this with him as he thinks he is the only person on the planet who is going thru depression. We live in the Madison area so it will be very encouraging for him to actually see someone who is not only managing it but is thriving most days! Thank you for sharing.